Using Weather Radar to Track Waterfowl Disturbances

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In 2011-2013, the USGS UMESC used NEXRAD weather radar to observe the effects of waterfowl disturbances caused by boaters in the navigation pools of the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS).  Observers stationed on a bluff overlooking Lake Onalaska, Wisconsin, recorded disturbances in Voluntary Wildlife Avoidance Areas.  NEXRAD data were then collected from dates and times corresponding to the larger disturbance events.  Using the radar data, it was found that the disturbed waterfowl moved at least as far south as Lake Winneshiek (approximately 40 miles) and northwest to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge (approximately 13 miles).  Such disruptions of foraging and resting activities may threaten the welfare of the migrating waterfowl by depleting their energy reserves.

Author Name
Kevin Kenow and Manuel Suarez
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